On any given day if you happen to be outside my classroom door you are likely to hear, “Please use your time wisely.” Multiple reminders to stay on task are just part of the daily routine when you are teaching seven and eight-year olds. It’s no wonder, of course. Potential diversions are everywhere. My classroom itself is an explosion of color, numbers and words begging, “Look at me!” The playground beckons through the window, “Over here!” Classmates are only inches away whispering, “Listen to me.”
I can’t blame my students for being distracted. In fact there are times when I feel that my own attention span resembles that of a seven-year old. Even when I begin the day with a definite purpose in mind, the distracting deluge begins as soon as I enter the school building. Phone calls to be returned, emails to be answered, meetings to attend, reports to be written, papers to be graded – and this all before a single child enters through the classroom door. Everywhere I turn someone or something is saying, “Look at me! Over here! Listen to me!”
It causes me to stop and wonder whether I am “using my time wisely.” Am I being true to the path that God has set before me? If I am not careful, the chaotic world around me can quickly wear me down into a frazzled mess. I waste time worrying about things that I cannot change instead of focusing on what I can do to change my reaction to the situation.
When I feel pulled in every direction, it is my Father’s voice alone that calms my weary spirit and helps me focus on the important things in life. Spending time in God’s presence gives me the power and direction to stay on course that He has set for me. Isaiah 40:31 gives me the promise that, “Those who wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
Oh Lord, on those days when I am distracted by the lesser things that clamour for my attention, help me to keep my eyes fixed on You. Do not let me waste my time pursuing things that do not bring You glory.